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Allusion in The Devil and Tom Walker

Irving alludes to the Bible multiple times throughout this story. This literary device both reminds the audience of the story’s moral center and aligns the story with New England beliefs. The allusions therefore function to make Irving’s fictional story feel more like a real legend.

Allusion Examples in The Devil and Tom Walker:

Text of the Story

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"he found the black print of a finger..."   (Text of the Story)

The mark of the devil has significance in many stories and likely comes from the biblical story of Cain and Abel, in which Cain was punished by God with exile and a permanent mark for killing his brother, Abel. Old Scratch's mark on Tom’s forehead perhaps alludes to this story.

""A great man had fallen in Israel."..."   (Text of the Story)

This line refers to 2 Samuel 3:38 in the Bible, where King David mourns the death of Abner. It is used to inform the public that a notable and good person had died.

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